Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Henderson: Castor has no illusions about Cuba

"That's the difficulty, elevating Cuba on the to-do list," said Rep.

Kathy Castor.

By Joe Henderson | Tribune Staff

Published: April 9, 2013

– If you expected U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor to return from her trip last

week to Cuba with a glowing outlook about the possibility of normalized

relations with the United States, well, that didn't happen.

Actually, there was an eye-opening moment when she stepped out of her

hotel in Havana, only to be slowed by a large crowd of locals desperate

for a glimpse of Beyonce and Jay-Z. Somehow, that couple's trip to the

isolated island attracted a little more national and international

attention than did Castor's.

"They sure know who Beyonce is, I'll tell you that," Castor said. "We

walked outside the hotel, huge crowds – Be-yon-ce! Be-yon-ce!"

Hopeful as she may be for better ties between U.S. and Cuba in more

significant areas, though, Castor's eyes are wide open.

"America, and this community, cannot enter into greater engagement with

blinders on," she said Monday during a meeting with The Tampa Tribune

editorial board.

"This government continues to be repressive. It does not recognize many

of the fundamental human rights that everyone around the globe strives

for, and we share as Americans, to self-determine what you do with your


Friendly relations with Cuba could have big implications for Tampa,

economically and socially. Getting past long-held hostility toward the

Castro regime isn't easy, though. Congress has to approve any major

policy change.

With the world threatening to explode in places like North Korea, the

Middle East and other molten hot spots, a policy change toward Cuba

isn't a high priority.

"That's the difficulty, elevating Cuba on the to-do list," Castor said.

And this is a political fight.

"If you represent a district in Nebraska or one in Washington state,

Cuba is not so much on your radar," she said.

I talked about this subject the other day, while Castor was in Cuba,

with U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross. They are Hillsborough County's two

representatives to Congress; Castor is a Democrat, Ross is a Republican.

As you might imagine, they approach this issue from different points of


Ross said he'd love to see things improve with Cuba, but it wouldn't

happen until "regime change" that would allow Cubans to freely choose

their leaders. I asked Castor about that.

"How do you define regime change?" she said. "We've had the embargo and

travel restrictions in place for 50 years. Fidel (Castro) was there most

of the time; he's gone now. Raul (Castro) is there (as president). He's

more of a moderate. There has been a little bit of regime change.

They're on a path.

"I don't think at this point it would be in America's best interests to

invade the country," she added with a laugh, "to demand (change). The

people of Cuba should determine that. What is changing now is their

economic system, and I think that will lead to greater engagement that

will lead to change in their political system."

And if things still move too slowly, ask Beyonce to stop by for another

visit. From the sound of things, she engaged the people well.

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